Volunteers move our organization, reaching our mission would be impossible without them. In order to work hand in hand, you need to assure an open and constant communication with your volunteer force. Failing to keep them in-the-loop can lead to frustration and increase disengagement. That’s why we’ve gathered 6 tips to help you assure better communication with your volunteers.

Tip #1: Create a Plan

As part of your yearly strategy, you need to define a communication plan for your volunteers. Create this along with your marketing team, taking into consideration the annual activity calendar of your partner organization. What is the best moment to recruit? When do you need extra volunteer help? Make sure you create compelling messages for them to reply and/or share.

Tip #2: Have a Good Mix

A good communication strategy includes a variety of platforms. Email newsletters and Workplace are great ways to engage our current volunteers. On the other hand, phone calls, social media and external events are perfect for recruiting new volunteers. Ask yourself what your needs are and choose a platform from there.

Check out AFS Costa Rica’s volunteer newsletter!

Tip #3: Keep it Constant

Constancy is key. Without regular reminders, feedback opportunities and encouraging messages your audiences can lose interest or (in case of potential volunteers) forget about your organization. Create a plan that takes into consideration the different stages of the Volunteer Journey, and how to better communicate in each one.

Tip #4: Track your Results

Data is your friend! Track responses to specific emails, posts, and campaigns.  These findings will highlight what is effective (and what not so much) so you can continue to improve it.

Tip #5 Give Opportunities To Voice Opinions

Communication goes both ways. Make sure you are creating spaces where volunteers have a chance to voice their concerns, ask questions, and share suggestions. Q&A sessions, webinars, surveys, and one-on-one meetings are just some ways to open up feedback spaces.

AFS Brazil has a survey for volunteers to evaluate staff! You can contact Fernanda Ogasawara for more information

Tip #6 Be clear and straightforward

Use everyday language that’s easy to understand. Even if you think of a volunteer as ‘one of the team’, never use sector jargon or acronyms when you talk or write to them. Unfamiliar terms can make volunteers feel anxious and alienated. Make sure it’s immediately clear what’s expected of them.

Use this handy acronym list with new volunteers! Remove any terms that do not apply in your context and add any extra that will be helpful for you.

Use these tips to create an effective communication plan for your volunteers. Everyone, from staff to volunteers and even participants, will benefit from more open and constant communication.